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How sweet it is: A look at 10 Albuquerque businesses embracing the Valentine’s Day spirit

Illustration by Cathryn Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal

When the calendar flips to February, the arrival of Cupid is not far off.

Valentine’s Day is observed on Feb. 14 every year. Although many associate the day with romantic love, it’s a day that celebrates love in all its forms, including friendships and familial bonds. It’s recognized as a day of warmth and affection, but its roots were not so genteel.

It’s believed the idea for the holiday originated from the Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, which was celebrated every spring. The festival started with the sacrifice of goats and a dog. The sacrifices were followed by a ceremony and great feast. After the feast, men would slap the women with strips of hide from the animals they had just slain, believing the blows made the women fertile. Later, the names of all young, single women would be placed in a jar, with each bachelor drawing a name. They would then be paired off for the day and sometimes longer.

The Catholic Church eventually replaced this pagan celebration with St. Valentine’s Day, although it’s not clear who exactly St. Valentine was.

Today’s celebration is much more benign and usually involves cards and flowers. In addition to expressing love, Valentine’s Day is also a great opportunity to eat lots of sugary treats.

A mixed box of chocolate has become a traditional gift, but it’s not the only sweet way to say “I love you.” From bakeries, to restaurants to local chocolatiers, Albuquerque residents many options from which to choose.

Following is a list of 10 places one might consider this Valentine’s Day. Hours continue to be updated because of the pandemic. Call to get the most recent information. Many of the businesses also have social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram where they post daily updates.

As always, this list is in no way extensive. Did your favorite make the cut?

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